After the decent point earned away on Friday night at Wolves, changes were made with Dexter Blackstock leading the line in place of Nelson Oliveira, probably owing to the Portuguese somewhat erratic performance at Molinuex. While it was lovely to see Robert Tesche making a return to first team action, it was a common phenomenon to look at the line-up, squint quite hard, exhale a sigh and wonder where the goals were going to come from. It seemed clear that Freedman was looking for one of those classic 'away' performances which feature a sustained soaking up of home pressure and a latish breakaway goal or nod in from a set piece. In truth, an away performance that yielded a win could just as legitimately be deemed to be a classic one.
The opening quarter saw a flurry of set pieces whipped in by the home side which required Dorus De Vries to earn his keep. It wasn't as bad as Bristol City away but Jason Steele in the Blackburn goal could quite easily have played a round of Uno with the home crowd behind his goal without having to worry about being troubled by a stray football. The reasons for this? Myriad but let's start with this one: Although Blackstock is more than capable of bundling in the odd goal or two, his lack of mobility is not suited to him pulling the home defence in all sorts of directions as one might expect of a lone front man. For such a formation to be successful, it would require supporting, attack-minded players such as Jonny Williams, Ben Osborn and Jamie Ward to be close in support when on the offensive. The game plan seemed to be dependent upon such players being able to get forward and escape from being pinned back into defensive positions for long periods of time. Sadly, this proved to be exactly so as Forest looked shakier than Jose Aldo when asked to make Connor McGregor a strong cup of tea. It seemed to be just a matter of time before the Forest back line was severely breached. Fortunately, it stood firm(ish.)
After a rather painful opening 30 minutes, Forest started getting the ball wide and players forward, resulting in some half chances being created. At which point, Ben Marshall went and slammed a powerful shot against the Forest cross bar - just to, you know, remind the away team not to get ideas above its station. The bright patch enjoyed by Forest was fleeting and the rest of the half reverted back to Blackburn looking stronger and more likely to break the deadlock.
The Ben Osborn experiment on the left wing continued to malfunction...where to play him? 'The Born Conundrum'.